The Value of Aphorisms

Many people welcome new or different aphorisms in their lives, especially pithy statements which correspond to their world views and personal or past experiences. Aphorisms, then, have subjective appeal and mean or don’t mean much to a given listener or reader. But if there is truth within the concisely stated nugget of language and thought, then it has relevance, currency, and likely, lasting value.

Below some unexpected aphorisms from my reading of late–ones that gave me unexpected new insights into that which I already knew, but had never heard before encountered put quite so nicely, concisely.

Art serves to rinse out our eyes.
–Karl Kraus

I shop, therefore I am.
–Barbara Kruger

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
–H.L. Mencken

For myself, I am an optimist–it does not seem to be much use being anything else.
–Winston Churchill

Violence is suicide.
–Mohandas Gandhi

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
–Eleanor Roosevelt

History, like beauty, depends largely on the beholder.
–Desmond Tutu

Too much of a good thing can be simply wonderful.
–Mae West

It is better to live rich than to die rich.
–Samuel Johnson

The freer you feel yourself in the presence of another, the more free is he: who is free makes free.
–Johann Lavater

My business, my art is to live my life.

To be everywhere is to be nowhere.

Boredom–the desire for desires.
–Leo Tolstoy

Better be alone than in bad company.
–Thomas Fuller

The eyes. Where the body ends and the spirit begins.
–Antoine de Rivarol

Distrust of authority should be the first civic duty.
–Norman Douglas

Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.
–Aldous Huxley

Only entropy comes easy.
–Anton Chekhov

The wrong way is endless.
–Bert Hellinger

A thought is an idea in transit.

Beware the barrenness of a busy life.

Exuberance is beauty.
–William Blake

Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings.
–Heinrich Heine

The genius creates harmony between the world in which he lives and the world that lives in him.
–Hugo Hofmannsthal

Shallowness spreads.
–Daniel Liebert

Few people die of love. But many of lovelessness.
–Jose Narosky

The ruts are deepest in the middle of the road.
–James Richardson

A politically correct culture is an imitation fur coat–inhabited by real fleas.
–Peter Robinson

Man would devour the stars if only he could.
–Rudolf Schroder

There is nothing in life except what one thinks of it.
–Wallace Stevens

He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.

A friend is your needs answered.
–Kahlil Gibran

No pressure, no diamonds.
–Thomas Carlyle

When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.
–William James

Living is a constant process of deciding what we are going to do.
–Ortega Y Gasset

To fall into a habit is to begin to cease to be.
–Miguel de Unamuno

To live poetically is to densify life.
–Vilhelm Ekelund

A book is a mirror: if an ape looks into it an apostle is unlikely to look out.
–Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.
–Ludwig Wittgenstein

Consciousness abhors a vacuum.
–Paul Valery

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